Excerpts from Civil Rights in Peril: The Targeting of Arabs and Muslims (Edited by Elaine C. Hagopian), newly co-published by Pluto Press and Haymarket Books
1. Race and Civil Rights preSeptember 11, 2001: The Targeting of Arabs and Muslims
By Susan M. Akram and Kevin R. Johnson
The federal governments response to the tragedy of September 11, 2001, demonstrates the close relationship between immigration law and civil rights in the United States. Noncitizens historically have been vulnerable to civil rights deprivations, in no small part because the law permits, and arguably encourages, extreme governmental conduct with minimal protections for the rights of noncitizens. Unfortunately, the current backlash against Arabs and Muslims fits comfortably into a long history of U.S. government efforts to stifle political dissent. This backlash is especially troubling because of the possibilityexemplified by the internment of persons of Japanese ancestry during the Second World Warthat racial, religious, and other differences have fueled the animosity toward Arabs and Muslims.
It is in the context of a particular historical and legal environment that the postSeptember 11 targeting of Arabs and Muslims must be understood, as this context both explains Arab and Muslim fears in time of crisis and permits such targeting to be acceptable in the public eye. Such government, public, and private acts as the unjustified FBI investigations of Arab- or Muslim-owned businesses, or the closing of Muslim and Arab bank accounts, or the shutting down of Muslim charities, or FBI visits to mosques and Muslim/Arab academics, or "special registration" and other targeted monitoring of persons only of Arab origin or Muslim faith have become quite an accepted part of the "war on terrorism." Yet, should either the government or others target white Irish Catholics or Jews or another racial/"ethnic minority in such a sustained manner, they would doubtless face significant and vociferous challenge for racial or religious profiling.
Commentators have observed how popular perceptions of racial and other minorities influence their treatment under the law. As with other minority groups, this seems true for Arabs and Muslims. As Professor Natsu Saito summarizes,
Arab Americans and Muslims have been "raced" as "terrorists": foreign, disloyal, and imminently threatening. Although Arabs trace their roots to the Middle East and claim many different religious backgrounds, and Muslims come from all over the world ..., these distinctions are blurred and negative images about either Arabs or Muslims are often attributed to both. As Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations notes, "The common stereotypes are that were all Arabs, were all violent and were all conducting a holy war."
The demonization of Arabs and Muslims in the United States, accompanied by harsh legal measures directed at them, began well before the tragedy of September 11, 2001. It can be traced to popular stereotypes, years of mythmaking by film and media, racism during times of national crisis, and a campaign to build political support for U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Since at least the 1970s, U.S. laws and policies have been founded on the assumption that Arab and Muslim noncitizens are potential terrorists and have targeted this group for special treatment under the law. The postSeptember 11 targeting of Muslims and Arabs is simply the latest chapter in this history.
The secret evidence cases
The Immigration and Naturalization Service
has selectively targeted Arabs and Muslims through the use of secret evidenceevidence that it refuses to disclose to the noncitizen or his or her counselto charge, detain, and deny bond or release in removal proceedings. By 1999, twenty-five secret evidence cases were pending.
In Rafeedie v. INS, Fouad Rafeedie, a twenty-year lawful permanent resident of Palestinian origin, was arrested upon returning to the United States after a two-week trip to a conference in Syria sponsored by the Palestine Youth Organization. He was placed in summary exclusion proceedings based on ideological grounds. The INS claimed that disclosing its evidence against Rafeedie would be "prejudicial to the public interest, safety, or security of the United States." The court of appeals rejected the INS position and required application of the ordinary due process analysis in deciding whether the federal governments national security interests outweighed Rafeedies First Amendment rights. The court observed that the only way Rafeedie could have prevailed over the secret evidence proceeding would have been to "rebut the undisclosed evidence against him.
It is difficult to imagine how even someone innocent of all wrong-doing could meet such a burden."
Mazen al-Najjar and Anwar Haddam experienced the longest detentions connected with secret evidence proceedings: Al-Najjar was detained for more than four years and Haddam was jailed for four years, both on allegations of association with terrorism. Al-Najjar, a stateless Palestinian, was editor of the journal of the World and Islam Studies Enterprise (WISE), a think tank based at the University of South Florida devoted to promoting discussion of Middle East issues. The INS arrested al-Najjar and placed him in removal proceedings as part of an FBI investigation against a former WISE administrator who became head of the Islamic Jihad. The arrest and detention was based on secret evidence. Al-Najjar was held in custody for three years and seven months before his release in December 2000. He was then rearrested in November 2001, and remained in custody until his deportation in August 2002. No terrorism charges were ever brought, but he was detained and his removal was sought on the basis of visa violations and on evidence the INS refused to disclose.
Anwar Haddam was an elected member of the Algerian Parliament. A professor of physics at the University of Algiers, he ran for election as a member of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), a moderate Islamic party that swept the 1991 elections with 80 percent of the vote. The Algerian military staged a coup détat, arrested the president of the FIS, and rounded up thousands of its members. Top FIS officials were killed or imprisoned, while thousands of FIS supporters were imprisoned, tortured, and executed. A civil war followed with tens of thousands of deaths. One of the few elected FIS officials who managed to escape Algeria, Haddam entered the United States on a valid nonimmigrant visa in 1992, and later filed an asylum claim. The INS took Haddam into custody and detained him based on secret evidence.
In both the al-Najjar and Haddam cases, as the secret evidence was either unclassified or disclosed, it was demonstrated that the governments "terrorist" claims were based on unreliable evidence and apparently unfounded. Yet, the inability to challenge the secret evidence cost al-Najjar and Haddam years of their lives in custody.
2. Profiled: Arabs, Muslims and the Post9/11
Hunt for the "Enemy Within"
By Nancy Murray
Noncitizens who are Muslim, primarily from the Middle East and South Asia, have been the chief targets of the repression, but its impact is felt by all immigrants, as citizens are pitted against immigrants in the manner the attorney general says he deplores. Among those against whom the Justice Department filed "terrorism" charges in the opening months of 2003 were twenty-eight Latinos accused of possessing fabricated Social Security numbers and working illegally at the Austin, Texas, airport. Now that the local and state police can enforce immigration law and the slightest infraction of the rules can be grounds for arrest and deportation, the self-proclaimed "Nation of Immigrants" is a potential minefield for both documented and undocumented noncitizens.
By the beginning of February 2004
growing sections of the public were challenging the governments version of the domestic "war on terrorism." Three state legislatures and some 240 cities and towns across the country representing thirty-five million people had passed resolutions against government measures that violated civil liberties and fundamental constitutional protections.
The resolutions passed by cities with large immigrant populations were explicit in their condemnation of ethnic and religious profiling. For instance, the Los Angeles City resolution, passed by a 92 vote on January 21, 2004, condemns portions of the USA PATRIOT Act that grant the attorney general the power "to subject citizens of other nations to indefinite detention or deportation even if they have not committed a crime" and Justice Department interpretations of the act and related executive orders that encourage "racial profiling by law enforcement and hate crimes by individuals in our community."
Lower court rulings in late 2003 and early 2004 held out hope that the rule of law might reassert itself. On January 27, 2004, U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins, sitting in Los Angeles, ruled that the provision of the USA PATRIOT Act that bars providing "expert advice and assistance" to foreign "terrorist groups" is overbroad and a violation of the First and Fifth Amendments.
Two federal appeals court decisions, both decided on December 18, 2003, also put the Department of Justice on the defensive. A panel of the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled 21 that the government could not continue to hold U.S. citizen Jose Padilla incommunicado as an "enemy combatant." His indefinite detention, the court stated, was a violation of the 1971 Non-Detention Act barring indefinite internment of citizens during times of war or national crisis without an act of Congress. The government immediately appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which had already agreed to consider Yaser Hamdis detention as an enemy combatant.
On the same day, a Ninth Circuit Court panel ruled 21 that the detention of prisoners at Guantánamo without access to U.S. legal protections was unconstitutional and a violation of international law. While the administration was erecting a permanent prison and death chamber at Guantánamo and preparing to try some of the Guantánamo detainees before military commissions, its policies were being denounced not just by human rights groups and British high court judge Lord Steyn, who termed them "a monstrous failure of justice," but also by the uniformed military attorneys appointed by the Pentagon to represent some of the detainees. Five of them filed a Supreme Court brief in mid-January that calls the Bush administration a "monarchical regime" that has created "a legal black hole" in which one person, the president, has the power to prosecute, try, and execute sentences.
Will the U.S. Supreme Court that appointed George Bush president choose to check the powers of the imperial presidency in its 2004 term? After agreeing to review the Hamdi case and to rule on the narrow issue of whether Guantánamo detainees could have hearings in U.S. courts, the justices declined without comment to consider a case challenging the governments refusal to make public the names of hundreds of post9/11 detainees. By permitting secrecy to prevail, is the high court signaling that there is little need for judicialor publicoversight in how the executive branch conducts the domestic "war on terrorism"?
As we await Supreme Court rulings that will almost certainly have far-reaching implications for our constitutional system, the "enemy within" is proving elusive. After Guantánamo chaplain Captain James Yee and two Arabic language translators at Guantánamo were arrested on suspicion of espionage and "aiding the enemy," the charges against them were steadily scaled back. Captain Yee emerged from seventy-six days in solitary confinement to face accusations of adultery and keeping pornography on his government computer amid media reports that the documents found in his luggage as he was leaving Guantánamo might not even have been classified.
By the end of 2003, the governments high-profile prosecution of the so-called sleeper cell in Detroit was in turmoil after it admitted that it withheld evidence that its star witness, Yousef Hmimssa, had made up much of the story used to get convictions against two defendants. As the case unraveled, a federal judge sanctioned Attorney General John Ashcroft for twice violating a court-imposed gag order and making prejudicial statements about the case, and the FBI initiated an internal probe of its Detroit office.
In spite of these setbacks, there is no sign that the government is moving more cautiously in its targeting of Muslims and people of Arab descent. In a letter dated December 22, 2003, the Senate Finance Committee requested that the Internal Revenue Service turn over the donor lists and confidential tax and financial records of at least twenty-seven Muslim charities and foundations, on the grounds that they "finance terrorism and perpetuate violence."
The war in Afghanistan brought about another type of violation, the placing of enemy war prisoners in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Their detention without due process is in clear violation of our international legal obligation under the Third Geneva Convention.
The convention requires the U.S. to properly adjudicate their status as prisoners of war and to treat them well. It also provides for their release after the conflict ends. The conflict is over, but they are still detained. Moreover, they were treated in a manner that may fall in the category of torture: sensory deprivation, prolonged hooding and solitary confinement, degrading and humiliating treatment.
All of that was glossed over and no one from the US media or human rights organizations was allowed to go inside, view the conditions of detention, and talk to the detainees.
Among the detainees were people ages fifteen to ninety-five, including some who were sick. Secretly, some of them were released to avoid embarrassment, and soon the remaining ones will be released or tried by military commission before which their rights to a fair and impartial defense will not be guaranteed.
U.S. courts have shockingly refused to review this situation on the fictitious grounds that Guantánamo Bay, a territory leased from Cuba by the US, is not part of the United States. Our courts found that they are not competent to examine what our troops are doing to their prisoners.
from the introduction by M. Cherif Bassiouni
3. Roots of the American Anti-Terrorism Crusade
By Samih Farsoun
The principal political-military strategy in the American anti-Communist crusade of the postSecond World War era was containment of the Communist geopolitical sphere and deterrence against Soviet conventional and nuclear power. Longest in duration, this crusade, popularly labelled the Cold War, with all its diplomatic and political conflicts, détentes, proxy hot wars, and the Vietnam War came to an abrupt end with the remarkable and unexpected collapse of the Soviet Union and of Communism in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
In each of these major confrontations the American political elite and public intelligentsia formulated an overarching ideological framework that justified the new American policy direction and the derivative political-military strategy, and mobilized the American public and resources. However, the unanticipated collapse of Communism and the Soviet system early in the 1990s yielded no immediate visible enemy or challenge for the United States, as was the case earlier in the wake of the defeat of European and Japanese fascism. As a result, an ideological and policy vacuum emerged and led to a competition among policymakers, public intellectuals, and politicians to define the overarching character of the times and a vision for the future. Before she took office, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice wrote: "The United States has found it exceedingly difficult to define its national interest in the absence of Soviet power."
Ideology and strategy in the post-Soviet era
Several "visions" were promoted in the 1990s. Former president George Bush promoted the notion of the dawn of a "new world order"of course American dominated and controlledan ideological construct that was not fully defined by the elder Bush until after he lost the election to Bill Clinton. Francis Fukuyama articulated a triumphalist thesis of the final victory of democracy and market capitalism and therefore the "end of history." However, the ideological and policy establishment of the United States became more taken with a perceived new threat: "rogue states," especially those with the capability of developing "weapons of mass destruction," or those seeking such weapons, such as Iraq, Iran, Libya, North Korea, and others.
Although the United States mobilized a grand international alliance of states, including many Arab states, to expel the Iraqi army from occupied Kuwait in 1991, the conflict was not elevated to the rank of a "defining moment" for the United States, nor to that of an overarching ideology and determined policy of ridding the world of "rogue states" once and for all. In retrospect, the Gulf War of 1991 was a regional conflict of importance to the strategic interest of the United States and its oil-producing client states, but not a "defining moment" in its own political history. It did, however, break the "Vietnam syndrome," the official and public fear of committing American troops overseas in order to avoid American casualties.
The Gulf War produced another significant lesson of contemporary international realpolitik: the huge American capability to project tremendous military might far beyond its borders. The overcoming of the Vietnam syndrome began with the Reagan administrations invasion of Grenada, a country without an army, and with its vigorous intervention in Central America through covert actions, particularly in Nicaragua. The illegal financing, supplying, and training of the Contras and other counterrevolutionary governments, organizations, and death squads in Central America paralleled as well the actions of mobilization and support of the successful "Islamic resistance" to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The Afghan intervention was the epitome of the return to aggressive, interventionistand largely unilateralist in Central AmericaAmerican foreign policy in the wake of the brief "retreat" brought about by the Vietnam debacle.
Beginning in 1992, the center-right, business-oriented administration of Bill Clinton followed, to a large extent, a path of multilateralism, interventionism, and the use of the United Nations as the forum for building international consensus for international interventionnot unlike the approach taken by the administration of George Bush the Elder in the war against Iraq. However, the military challenges of the 1990s were not deemed by the Clinton administration, or its functional intellectuals, to be too threatening to American geopolitical, economic, or strategic interests abroad, as was the Iraqi invasion and occupation of Kuwait. But the Clinton-era drive for military interventionism received a new and different justification: "humanitarian intervention." The ideological concept of humanitarian intervention is not a new construct. It was used by European powers in their colonial conquests in the nineteenth century. Humanitarian intervention was the justification for American intervention in Somalia and in Bosnia and Kosovo, under the umbrella of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Indeed, the Clinton administration intervened militarily more times than all of the three previous administrations of Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George Bush the elder combined. The strategy that evolved out of this humanitarian interventionism included "regime change." However, although Clintons humanitarian intervention ended the egregious violence in the former Yugoslavia, it did not reverse the process of "ethnification, which is now consolidated and somewhat legitimated."
The Clinton administration coupled the humanitarian military interventionist ideology with an economic-political foreign policy: the promotion and export of "free market capitalism," "economic globalization," and "electoral democracy." This ideological set and derivative policies, aptly labelled "neoliberalism," were intended not only to regulate economic investment and trade relations among the Western industrial powers and Japan (principally through the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, North American Free Trade Agreement, and World Trade Organization), but also to pry open and "reform" the economies of most countries of the "Global South," through the International Monetary Fund and World Bank policy of "structural adjustment." But the ideology of neoliberalism remained current principally among the intellectual, professional, and political elites in the United States. It did not grip the imagination of the public, as most of the American people were much more consumed by accumulating wealth during the spectacular economic growth-bubble of the Clinton era, rather than by any international challenge.
The fly, as it were, in the neoliberal Clinton-era ointment was "terror attacks" on American armed forces and diplomatic installations in the Arab world and east Africa. Such attacks during the Clinton years included Somalia in 1993; the alleged planned attempt to assassinate George Bush the elder in Kuwait in 1993; the Riyadh bombing in 1995; the Khobar bombing in 1996; the American embassy bombing in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1998; the American embassy bombing in Dar Essalam, Tanzania, also in 1998; the varied plots to launch millennium attacks in the United States and elsewhere in 2000; and the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000. The attempted bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 produced relatively little response. Also during this period, the confrontations with Iraq over UN-mandated inspections escalated and increased further the perception of the threat of a "rogue state" acquiring weapons of mass destruction.
These attacks did not generate a new overarching ideology or crusade, but they led to a new strategic military concept: "asymmetrical warfare." This was especially suited to the new kind of enemy: stateless, transnational or subnational and mobile, motivated by religious, or other ideology or purpose (e.g., drug trafficking). The U.S. government established offices and task forces to identify, monitor, and track what it considered to be anti-American "terrorist organizations." But, principally, the United States under Clinton "circled the wagons" and developed defensive security strategies for its diplomatic and military installations overseas, and, of course, satisfied itself with long-distance cruise-missile attacks against Osama bin-Ladens al-Qaeda bases in Afghanistan and narcotics organizations in Colombia.
Prominent in the policymaking councils, and to a lesser extent in the news, were also the dilemmas of the "failed states," the new successor states of the Soviet system and the commensurate moral and humanitarian concerns associated with the tragedies of many Global South countries. With respect to the "failed states," "humanitarian military," political, and economic interventionism was the order of the times. The humanitarian rhetoric was deployed in order to justify military intervention in certain states experiencing lethal political chaos (Somalia), civil conflict, and ethnic cleansing (Bosnia and Kosovo). However, the genocidal Hutu-Tutsi ethnic conflict in central Africa did not lead to the deployment of Western military force to end the genocide. These and other conflicts prompted some American and British neoconservative intellectuals to callon presumably moral groundsfor a "new imperialism," especially for the "failed states" of the Global South.
4. American Global Reach and the Anti-terrorist Crusade of George W. Bush
By Naseer Aruri
Testing the Bush Doctrine in Asia
Within hours of the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington, President Bush declared a "war on terrorism," which signaled the beginning of a broad strategic plan to reshape the map of the Middle East and Central Asia and to expand U.S. hegemony. The initial agenda included the overthrow of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and its replacement by a more compliant regime from the Northern Alliance, which had demonstrated equal brutality during the 1980s quagmire. The U.S.-installed, hapless regime of Hamid Karzai is touted already as the product of a "nation-building" project after a quick military "victory" was declared with virtually no U.S. casualties.
The re-conquest of Afghanistan was largely viewed in the United States as a vindication of the hawks in the Bush administration, who utilized the threat of terrorism to advance their strategic agendaoil, bases, and hegemony. In fact, the U.S. military bases under construction since the war on terrorism began have an inconspicuous proximity to the projected pipelines that constitute a precious dividend of this war. Washington is already consolidating its strategic position in that region by building military bases in Kazakhstan and bridges, rail lines, storage depots, and communication centers in Uzbekistan. Moving U.S. bases from Turkey eastward, from Western Europe to Eastern Europe and from Saudi Arabia to Qatar is part of the strategic reshaping of the new landscape resulting from the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Ian Traynor described the evolving connection between the Middle East and Central Asia this way:
The past two years have seen a rapid expansion of American deployments across thousands of miles stretching from the Balkans to the Chinese border and taking in the Caucasus, central Asia, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent.
From Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, a result of the 1999 NATO campaign, to the Bishkek airbase in Kyrgyzstan, appropriated for the Afghanistan war, the Americans are establishing an armed presence in places they have never been before.
Thirteen new bases in nine countries ringing Afghanistan were rapidly established as Russias underbelly in central Asia became an American theatre for the first time [sic]
Further plans are in the pipeline to move U.S. assets out of Germany, where they have been since 1945, into the new NATO countries of eastern Europe, notably Poland as well as Romania and Bulgaria on the Black Sea, prized for their proximity to Turkey and the Middle East.
Combating "terror" thus becomes the prelude to and justification for an expansionist foreign policy that might be aiming to redraw the strategic global map. Afghanistan and Iraq are sufficiently weak as to make them appropriate candidates for testing the Bush Doctrine.
Although a central objective of Bushs foreign policy is geared toward maintaining and creating stability in a presumed turbulent world, Americas actions in central Asia and the Middle East may very well induce anarchy and spread violence in some areas along the Himalayan Mountains. How long will the improved relations between the United States, on the one hand, and Russia and China, on the other, last in view of the fact that American military bases and oil pipelines penetrate their traditional spheres of influence?
That ominous phrase used by Paul Wolfowitz after September 11 about "ending states" is a sign of what is to come should the test in Iraq yield a green light for a further advance throughout the region. The entire Middle East would be destabilized as the new guiding rules add client regimes, such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, to the list of predictable targets in order to effect a radical change not only in geography and geopolitics, but in political culture as well. Such a comprehensive, megalomaniacal scheme was set forth by Norman Podhoretz, a neoconservative/Likudist guru, in the September 2002 issue of his magazine, Commentary. Changes in regime, he proclaimed, were "the sine qua non throughout the region." They might "clear a path to the long-overdue internal reform and modernization of Islam."
There is also a potential conflict in the Indian subcontinent that may involve the use of weapons of mass destruction that Bush has committed himself to destroy. India could undergo a major strategic transformation after decades of being Russias ally against China and the United States, raising the question of whether the United States is now ready to assume the position of the former Soviet Union vis à vis India. There is a similar question about the possibility that India might also serve as a strategic buffer for the United States, keeping Russia off the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean. Does the United States also hope to use Indias demographic depth as a human barrier against Chinas regional ambitions? If so, Pakistan is certainly destined to lose its strategic position, after renouncing its alliance with the Pashtuns and putting all its eggs in the American basket at a time that it is being relegated to one of the dispensable parties with demonstrated public sympathies to the "terrorists." Pakistans mosaic structure, which resembles that of Afghanistan, may become vulnerable to U.S.-Indian pressure, making the Kashmir issue look like childs play by comparison, with horrendous consequences for the regions stability.
As Lloyd Richardson of the Hudson Institute told the Financial Times, India has the "economic and military strength to counter the adverse effects of Chinas rise as a regional and world power. India is the most overlooked of our potential allies in a strategy to contain China." A recent classified U.S. Department of Defense document revealed by Janes Foreign Report argues, "China represents the most significant threat to both countries (India and the U.S.) security in the future as an economic and military competitor." It goes on to observe "that U.S. relations with its traditional allies in AsiaSouth Korea and Japanhave become fragile, and concludes that India should emerge as a vital component of U.S. strategy."
5. Interlocking of Right-Wing Politics and U.S. Middle East Policy
By Elaine C. Hagopian
THE UNITED States expects to create an arc of control around the Middle East and Central Asia to provide itself with great leverage in the region and world. Israel and India are key actors in this effort. The conquest of Iraq is supposed to make this possible and also to alter the behavior of regional states hostile to the United States and Israel, as well as India. Such a structure of control and occupation against the will of the people has already generated resistance in violent form.
Still regional reformers, secular and Islamic, struggle to set a course for their countries that will checkmate American intentions, and hopefully without recourse to violence. Second, the United States expects to establish its strategic partner Israel as the dominant regional force, to force Arab and Muslim states to recognize and normalize political and economic relations with it, and all this without real concessions to Palestinian national claims. To paraphrase political analyst Professor Zia Mian on U.S. intentions in the world from a talk he presented in Philadelphia on May 19, 2003: The U.S. reserves the right to expand its sovereignty beyond its borders, and to limit or deny the sovereignty of states that fail to conform to its specifications.
It should be clear that the aggressive, unilateral U.S. policies and actions in the Middle East and Central Asia, a predominantly Arab and Muslim area, ipso facto draw their support from the American public by constantly generating fear of Arabs and Muslims as whole communities. The political actors in the United States interested in emasculating the region and its people employ a whole range of created institutions, client exiles, the Zionist lobby, and the lobbys connections with the neocons in the Pentagon. Christian evangelicals offer bedrock support for those actors. Condemnation of anti-Arab, anti-Muslim messages and messages supporting the protection of Arab and Muslim civil rights expressed by President Bush, Attorney General John Ashcroft, and members of Congress belie the reality of the official and "unofficial" forces arrayed against Arab and Muslim communities both here and abroad.
[T]he continuing chaos in Iraq, and the U.S. media portrayal of Iraqi resistance as exclusively terrorism, generates and broadens fear and hatred of Arabs and Muslims in the West. The climbing death toll of U.S. soldiers and high casualty figures may ultimately affect Bushs popularity, but they also reinforce frightening images of Arabs and Muslims. The conflict between the U.S.-led coalition authority and Ayatollah Sistani regarding elections for an interim government demonstrates further that the United States is interested only in an Iraqi government that will be subservient to U.S. interests and will invite U.S. troops to remain in Iraq for an indefinite period. The Bush administration wants to create the facade that the United States will be out of Iraq by summer 2004, in time to claim before the presidential elections that it has brought democracy to Iraq and has completed its mission. Now seeking a UN fig leaf, the Bush administration aims to try to use the "legitimacy" of that institution to block Sistanis insistence on direct elections, not U.S. handpicked caucuses.
In summary, the linkage of domestic and international events sustains the American publics fear of Arabs and Muslims. This contributes to public support for the violations of the civil and human rights of Arabs and Muslims, as well as the abridgment of those same civil rights for all Americans.